Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hamakua Ditch Meeting

Mark participated in a teleconference discussion of the Hamakua Ditch working group held at NHERC. The group has been meeting for a number of years to address concerns regarding the continued availability and service of water from the Hamakua Ditch..

Waipio Stream. Jim Cain reported on success in clearing the mouth of Waipio Stream to allow for water to flow freely into the ocean. State Civil Defense chief Ed Texeira coordinated the efforts of numerous state, federal and county agencies worked together to expidite the numerous permits and clearances necessary to allow the project to move forward in a timely manner. The work was completed by Royal Construction who donated the equipment and operator to complete the work. The State Civil Defense Office has opened discussions with US Senator Daniel Inouye's Office to see if additional money can be secured for additional stream maintenance work.

Hamakua Ditch. The $4 million ditch mitigation project is currently on hold as the Department of Agriculture has identified three property owners who have not signed on to the plan to retro-fit the Hamakua Ditch with a buried pipeline to prevent future debris from interferring with the water flow. There will be several efforts underway to attempt to resolve the conflict with the land owners while also continuing to investigate other legal avenues.

Fire Prevention. The group also agreed to pursue the necessary legal and logistical means to allow the Hawaii County Fire Department to draw water from the Hamakua Ditch for fire fighting purposes should the need arise in the Kukuihaele area.

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